So I’m a little behind on the blogging–sorry friends, I’ve been using my morning time for some other things lately, I’ll do my best to get caught up here shortly. First and foremost I need to write about this year’s Pittsburgh Marathon weekend.
While all of my training is ultimately building towards my ultras (the first of which is just under a week away, *gulp*) the Pittsburgh Marathon was a goal race of mine this year. I wanted to PR at this marathon. That’s a tall order–Pittsburgh is known for being a tough course, most people don’t choose races with significant hills to shoot for PRs, but I’m also not most people. Pittsburgh is my half marathon PR even though I’ve done a lot of “easier” races, I wanted Pittsburgh to be my marathon PR too (at least for now).
So the Expo and the 5k were not remarkable. Sorry, they just weren’t. I visited my favorite shirt shop (shout out to Brag Swag…LOVE their stuff) and scored a couple new Pittsburgh designs, but very little aside from that. LOVE the official shirts this year, LOVE the Pittsburgh skyline Goodr sunglasses that we got as our premium. I used to love race expos, now I’m much more of a get in, get my stuff, make a lap, get out type of girl. The 5k on Saturday, was a 5k. I took it easy since it was a shakeout and not the race I was there for.
Sunday…oh Sunday…the main event. Met up with my friends in the morning. Little stressful getting us all to the starting corral–we seem to have different views of “on time” and when the event “starts” but it ended up being fine once I got my anxiety back in check. The group of us did our “Who Run? WE RUN!” chant which was fun. I ran the first 16 miles with my friend Lara. Ran up Forbes (which had been one of my goals). Got to watch BRF dance like a jagoff with the girls at Lululemon (my only regret is that I didn’t record it…it was EPIC). Had some beer. Pet some greyhounds (wanted to run with one but they were too cold and wet when I got there). Lara urged me to go at mile 16–she could tell I felt good and she was struggling. So I went off on my own and chased down my PR. Enjoyed seeing friends and my running club along the way (that Fireball at Mile 25 was EXACTLY what I needed for the final push). And then I crossed the line.
5:23:19. 15 minutes faster than my marathon in March, on a much more “difficult” course. 20 minutes faster than my first marathon, which had been my PR until this year. That expression on my face is pure joy mixed with tears that were about to come a second later. I look vaguely horrified, but I LOVE that picture because I know how I felt in that moment. I was proud and happy. I felt amazing. This was far and away, of the 9 marathons I’ve run (so far) in my life the best I had ever felt during and after the race. It was the most fun I’ve had at a marathon. I posed for a pic with my medal. I got my medal engraved. I rang the PR bell (at BRF’s insistence). It was a truly awesome day.
And now…my next adventure awaits. Eagle Up Ultra 100k is this weekend. Yeah, 100k. I’ve been saying 50 miles for the longest time, but my goal is 100k. I can’t wait to get out there and see what I can do. I can’t wait for a long weekend with my friends, spending literally an entire day running. I had a really great 30-mile training run a few weeks back and I’m hoping that will be a good preview of coming attractions. I’m going into the weekend feeling really strong and well-prepared, so I guess we’ll see.
So last week got away from me. I chose to use my blogging time for other things, so now we’ll play catch up.
Monday (4/15)–Rest day. Sport Psychology Strategy Session for our training team.
Tuesday (4/16)–KB Class/Warmup Mile. Awesome, awesome warmup mile–9:29 outside. And a kickass class too, lifted heavier than ever. Pressed light purple (around 40 lbs) 6x for multiple sets.
Wednesday (4/17)–7 miles easy. Team RWB run and extra with Abbie. Not feeling this but the promise of the S’mores Nitro at Southern Tier kept me going.
Thursday (4/18)–Marathon Pace Run. Had planned to do this with Lara in town, but it was 78 degrees and humid, so pace plan went out the window and we just focused on getting miles without dying. Was really nice to run in the heat, I’ve strangely missed it.
Friday (4/19)–KB class/warmup mile. Kept a nice easy pace for my warmup mile. Awesome class! Didn’t put the bell down during the 10-minute AMRAP, and pushed hella hard through all the circuits.
Saturday (4/20)–15 miles easy. Did the Pro Bike +Run training run with Abbie. Cut it a little short because I was struggle-bussing and was just DONE once we got back to the Waffle truck. Hungry and over it.
Sunday (4/21)–10 miles easy. Did 2 miles on trail and 3 miles on road at North Park with friends. Didn’t feel like doing the rest of the mileage, but this felt really good and I had a good time.
Monday (4/22)–Rest Day.
Tuesday (4/23)–KB Class/warmup mile. Cancelled class, I was exhausted from the previous days antics…
Wednesday (4/24)–5 miles easy. Went to the Pro Bike +Run happy hour run with my friends. Had a really great run and a great time catching up with my friends. REALLY have missed the super sweaty weather.
Thursday (4/25)–5 miles easy. Weather was crappy so I got treadmill miles in. Would rather have run outside, but the miles got done.
Friday (4/26)–KB Class/warmup mile. No class for me, left for my Ohio weekend straight from work.
Saturday (4/27)–10 miles easy. Got these done at my favorite park, though it was a very lackluster run. I love that park, but consistently find myself walking more than I *need* to when I’m there. I’ll be seeking out some other routes and places to run next time I’m home. Struggled with some phantom taper-pains. Got the miles done, though, and I’m never sorry that I did.
Sunday (4/28)—6 miles easy. Treadmill miles again in the evening since it was kind of crappy out. Didn’t want to do this run, but felt so much better once I started.
Race week this week! Looking forward to the Pittsburgh Marathon Steel Challenge. Hoping that I’ll pull off another marathon PR on Sunday, and looking forward to fun and beer on course. Have a good week, friends!
This was kind of a rougher training week, but still very solid. Let’s review:
Monday–rest day yoga. I’m really getting into this being a thing. Need to branch out some with the routine I’m doing, but I’m still not good at it, so it’s still working.
Tuesday–kettlebell class and warmup mile. Really awesome warmup mile. Sub-10 which I have not done in a long time. It felt good to push and it’s nice to know that I still can. Pushed heavy in class and questioned my life choices. I was completely gassed but felt strong AF.
Wednesday–lactate threshold run. I get in my head about these sometimes. Did this on the treadmill because, once again, I wasn’t sure that I could hit/hold my paces outside. It was fine, I got it done.
Thursday–6 miles easy. Ran at North Park with Lara. Great weather, if a little humid. We did our best to keep it easy and not push each other too much. Ran in shorts for the first time this year. No one died. It was a good run.
Friday–kettlebell class and warmup mile. My FB memories popped up an old Nike+ running post from 9 years ago, with an average pace of 14:15, so I wanted to see what I could do. I know I ran that on a treadmill, so I stayed indoors. I did the same distance (1.41). Average pace of 10:03. BOOM! Followed by an awesome class with Mindy–she always kicks my ass in the best way. Love the Friday burners that make me question my life choices (because is it even a workout if you’re not questioning your life choices?).
Saturday–20 miles easy. I did extra because I’m me. Ran 24 with my friends. Awesome weather, I’m loving the warm up and starting to roast in the sun. Struggled some on this run, but had a fantastic time with my people. Impromptu Jell-O shots helped with pain management near the end.
Sunday–12 miles easy. I did 5 easy on the treadmill. Today was a life day–I worked a weird shift, had a ton of stuff to do at home, and was exhausted from the week. But something is better than nothing, so I got something in. Working on being okay with that.
This week will be interesting. Busy as always, hoping the weather forecast holds so I can get some solid runs in outdoors. Starting to cut back some to taper for Pittsburgh since I still want to shoot for a PR there. Hope it’s good for you. Until next time…
Since I did a race recap and not a training recap last week, I’m going to back track a little…
Monday (3/25)–rest day, Yoga for Distance Runners. This is becoming a thing and I love it. Maybe some day I’ll get brave and branch out, but for now, I’m still working on this routine.
Tuesday (3/26)–KB Class and warmup mile. Solid warmup mile, and really great class. I pushed hard, and I’m proud of how I’m challenging myself with different weights.
Wednesday (3/27)–6 miles easy on the schedule. I did 5 miles at the Pro Bike + Run Brooks RunHappy hour with Abbie. It was pretty good, we skipped our additional mile(s) because we felt like being done, but it was nice to take the 5-mile loop for a change.
Thursday (3/28)–Marathon pace run. 1 mile easy, 4 miles at 10:50-11, 1 mile easy. I did this on the treadmill because, quite frankly, I chickend out. I wasn’t sure that I could hold the pace for 4 miles without help. I had a busy day, yes, but I *could have* found time to do this outside. But I did it, and it was a solid treadmill workout.
Friday (3/29)–rest, travel for the weekends races.
Saturday (3/30)–Marathon. You know how that went–almost a 5 minute PR. Boom.
Sunday (3/31)–Half Marathon. Took it easier. Love the first half of the course.
Monday (4/1)–Rest Day. And I completely rested. No recovery work. Sore AF. Seriously. Walking was a challenge.
Tuesday (4/2)–KB class and warmup mile. Cancelled class in lieu of yoga at home. Still sore and I had lots to catch up on from the weekend. Glad that I was smart and took the break for my body and my mind.
Wednesday (4/3)–4 miles easy. This run SUCKED. The first mile wasn’t bad, but I was pushing. After that I walked a lot. Legs were not interested in running today. But I got the miles done and my body needed to get out and move.
Thursday (4/4)–5 miles easy. STAIRS AT THE CATHEDRAL! I love doing the stairs. It’s one of my favorite awful things in life. 5 times up with a friend, which was awesome. So much nicer to have company for that endeavor, definitely makes it go faster.
Friday (4/5)–KB class and warmup mile. I was not interested in my warmup mile, but I did it, and I’m glad. Awesome workout with Mindy, it felt good to be back and having my ass handed to me. Worked up to the last minute.
Saturday (4/6)–10 miles easy. Ran with friends at North Park. Took it easy the first 4 miles. Then I pushed. Then I pushed some more, because I felt bad for wussing out on my marathon pace workout, and I needed to prove to myself that I could hold that pace for 4 miles, outside, on hills. And I did. Not only did I do it, but I negative split it! With more than one mile “warmup” in the tank. So I don’t get to question that now, I know I can do it.
Sunday (4/7)–8 miles easy. I did 10 with Adrian, though had I not been with her I probably would’ve cut it back to 8. I felt okay, and probably could have pushed it more, but I was a little sore after Friday & Saturday.
And that brings me to another rest day. Yoga on tap after work. More soon, friends. Have a good week!
I’d forgotten what it was like to race distance. I spent last year chasing speed and racing a lot, I was often sore, but it would fade pretty quickly. So far during this training cycle, my recovery has been quick. Not this week.
Normally I’m tired and sore by the end of my long runs on Saturdays, but I’m good to go on Sundays with very little residual soreness. Well I definitely raced on Saturday, because I felt it on Sunday morning. Still, I ran.
Monday morning–oof! Between racing Saturday’s marathon, running on Sunday, and 5+ hours of travel after Sunday’s event…I was way more sore than I expected to be. Walking was a challenge. I took the elevator at work because 4 flights of stairs was just not an option. Anytime I had to get up from my desk–ouch! It was the most satisfying thing–I knew that I had not just run, but actually pushed myself and raced.
I felt a lot better on Tuesday, but I skipped my kettlebell class for yoga at home because I was still a little sore, and had a lot I needed to catch up on from the weekend. Tried to run a few easy miles on Wednesday and that was extremely slow going. I didn’t force it, though. My body needs to move, but this week is a cutback and meant for recovery. Did the stairs at the Cathedral with a friend last night, and back on schedule for class tonight, and runs this weekend. We’ll see how they go.
It’s really interesting to me how training for ultra distances has impacted me. I struggled with cutback weeks last year. They literally made me crazy. But the high volume has eased that. I love it, and I feel good, but my body is happy for the break when I get it. I don’t feel like I’m going to crawl out of my skin. It’s become easier for me to ease up on my training, or substitute something more gentle (or at least different). I’m listening to my body more instead of constantly trying to push, and I feel like it’s paying off.
Got some coffee? Get some coffee. Or tea. Or whatever you like to drink. Settle in. It’s story time…
So ultra training means multiple 20+ mile runs. Coach told me early in the year that if I wanted to work in some races for my longer runs to make it more interesting, let her know. So, loving the bling as I do, I went in search of spring marathons–and found the Two Rivers Marathon Festival, which offers 4 distances (5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon) on both Saturday and Sunday. Medals offered for all distances. I can get a medal for my recovery run too? Sold. Signed up for the marathon on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday.
In addition to offering all four distances on both days, the race has nice shirts, offers jackets for people who complete races (any combination of distances) both days, jackets for people who complete two marathons or two half marathons over the course of the weekend, there are special shirts for those who BQ on the course (lots of downhill to flat…high percentage of BQs). And the medals are huge! There is an animal “mascot”/logo each year and participants are polled for what animal they would like to see, and then the winner is incorporated into the medal and shirt/jacket logos for the year. Amazing swag. Really love it.
So I sign up, and then realizing I’m going away for the entire weekend, ask if anyone in my circle wants to come with and run a couple of races. Naomi took the bait (hahaha)–she was looking for a half marathon anyway, and hey she also needed recovery miles on Sunday. Half marathon and 10k it is. We started planning our trip–found a hotel that met our criteria (fridge/microwave in room and hot tub) about an hours drive from the race and booked it. The race director sent multiple emails over the month or so before the race to update on details–shirts and jackets are in! Medals are in! Weather for race weekend looks great!–it was neat to have that kind of genuine and excited communication from the RD. We packed up our stuff, and headed out on Friday for packet pickup. Little did we realize (though perhaps we should have) that we were headed for Deliverance.
Two Rivers takes place across the state, in a little town called Lackawaxen, PA. Upon arrival we learned there is no cell reception there (thank goodness the GPS lasted long enough to get us there, and we remembered enough to get out). We parked at a scary looking general store (complete with “Deplorables Welcome” and “cashier is armed” signs on the door) and walked across the street to the park to get our bibs and swag for the weekend. Packet pickup was unremarkable if slightly disorganized, but hey, it’s a small low-key race, there were two people there (one doing bibs, one handling the rest of the shirts/jackets) and it’s not like there was a mob of people picking up. We helped the guy find our jackets and moved on with our lives.
Got to the hotel, checked-in, unloaded and found food, which was easy–we were staying about an hour away from the race itself. While I didn’t love having an extra hour of driving on either side of the race, given the area the race was in, I’m glad we opted to stay further out. It was worth it to have the luxuries of civilization–multiple restaurants around the hotel which made eating easier, Walmart and Target for items you might have forgotten, gas nearby for refueling, cell phone reception, etc. The extra drive was well worth having needs easily met. We came back and prepared for the Saturday events.
So Saturday morning, we’re up and at ’em early. Chilly to start, but predicted to be in the 60s by the time I’m done, so I roll sleeveless (with arm warmers) and capris. We drive the hour to the finish, and get on a bus to the start. The first half of the course (well, the first 11 miles) is beautiful rolling hills through a wooded setting along the rivers. It was really pretty. Saturday’s event is larger, so there are pacers for the full marathon (and therefore for the first 11ish miles of the half). Aid stations every two miles–they only offer water and gatorade, but on Saturday they will put anything you want at any of the aid stations for you. I kept my nutrition with me so I could be sure to have it when I needed it. The course was pretty straightforward, but well marked with consistent reliable mile markers and the few turns were called out with signs and markings on the ground. The second half of the course is out and back along the river, but much more flat, which anyone who knows me knows I struggle with. It’s totally a mental thing–I love the challenge of hills, I’m a solid hill runner, and a good downhill runner. I know how to use them to my advantage. Flats feel endless to me. I really struggled with the back half of the course. It got a little lonely since it’s a small field, though the other runners and aid station volunteers were encouraging. I still felt great physically, but mentally I struggled on the flats and it was difficult to keep myself from walking too much. That said…I stayed ahead of the 5:30 pacer until around mile 20. And I managed to pull myself together to eek out an almost 5 minute PR for my marathon time. Official time was 5:38:59.
Due to having a significant amount of elevation loss and the flat finish this course is touted for having a high percentage of Boston Qualifiers. I wasn’t last, but I was towards the back of the pack. Everything was still up for me. Some aid stations were running out of cups, but race officials did everything they could to rectify that as quickly as possible once they learned of the issue. The finish line area didn’t have much in the way of refreshments, but had a food truck that runners could get a free item from. The other notable thing about the course is that it is not closed–you are out there with cars. Most were very respectful of the runners, so I didn’t have a huge issue with this. The series also touts generous time limits–none. They’ll wait for the last runner to come in. I was really impressed with this little race series. We didn’t stick around long after on Saturday, I was ready to go shower and get food, so we headed back to the hotel and did just that. Got pizza, and enjoyed relaxing in the hot tub for a bit. Then prepped for Sunday’s fun.
Sunday morning was a repeat of Saturday, except we also had to be completely out of the hotel when we left in the AM. Scrambled a little getting out, but still got to the finish to catch my bus. Naomi’s race started near the finish on Sunday so I was flying solo. I could tell that I raced on Saturday–I was sore. Which actually really made me happy. I know I could’ve pushed harder on the flat stretch, but the ache told me that I did push and I could be satisfied with that. I got to run the “fun” part of the course again for day 2. Much, much smaller field than Saturday, but still good. It was cooler on Sunday, it rained most of the race (at least for me). Despite racing a marathon the day before, I was cruising on the hills again, but I let myself walk some when I needed it–this was my “recovery” run, after all. Aid stations same as Saturday, though there were not necessarily volunteers at each. There were cups and liquids though, which was all I needed. Mile markers and course markings same as Saturday. Talked to some people out on the course that I’d been leap-frogging with for most of the race. It was a really pleasant experience, and I came in with a respectable time–2:37:23.
When I finished on Saturday I said I wouldn’t come back to double. The flat stretch got to me too much, but that the flat stretch was the only thing I didn’t like. I’ve since come to decide that I just need to work on my mental game so I’m not psyched out by flats. Probably won’t go back next year, but I will most likely go back and get a double marathon at some point, because I really enjoyed this little race series in the middle of nowhere, PA. The RD is in contact frequently. There are free race photos that will be available later this week. He was personally at the race and hands on talking to people all weekend, and is really open to suggestions on how they can improve the experience for runners. I highly recommend this little race festival–beautiful scenic course, great swag, and they are really great to the runners.
Last week was a mixed bag–the transition to spring hits me hard every year. I don’t know why–things don’t come back to life that quickly, and temperature changes don’t actually cause sickness–but somehow I end up fighting something off every year at this time. This week was no exception, but I still had a really solid week of training.
Monday–Rest Day–Did a Yoga for Distance Runners show that I have saved on the DVR. Definitely going to incorporate this more often.
Tuesday–Kettlebell Day–cancelled. I was really really run down by the time I got through work. Figured I’d rather rest and be okay to run (hopefully) on Wednesday than power through and force myself out of a run.
Wednesday–5 mile progression run. Had a friendly challenge going within our training team to see who could come closest to our paces for our speed workout. This was a really good thing for me. I felt great and would’ve pushed too hard out the gate if I hadn’t had this challenge to reign me in. Nailed the first two paces within 2 seconds. Went all out on the last one because I was feeling good and it felt good to push that hard near the end of a workout, still came in within 10 seconds of goal pace.
Thursday–6 miles easy. Had a great run through the city with my friend Lara. We push each other appropriately, and generally speaking always have good runs together. Thursday night runs have been much better lately, and I’m pretty sure the fact I usually have company is part of the reason.
Friday–Kettlebell Day–cancelled again. Allergies were going haywire all day at work and I just felt lousy. Again…I’d rather be able to run tomorrow than force through a workout tonight.
Saturday–24 miles easy. Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? I was having a bad morning. A really bad morning. Comedy of errors trying to get to the run, coupled with a complete emotional breakdown. Everything just kind of compounded. Normally I don’t mind a few miles by myself, though I try to get them in before the group run so I can finish with my friends. Today I was thankful I didn’t run a single mile alone, I could not have handled having that much time to think without distraction. I pushed pace on poor Lara and Abbie during our first 4 miles because I was so upset it was hard to hold back. But I got some much needed therapy and I finished my longest run in over a year. Watch was dying (just one of the many things that went wrong that morning…) so I stopped pausing it at stop lights, no idea what my real paces were, but I got through it and felt pretty okay. Ran up Forbes again, near the same mileage that I will hit it during Pittsburgh, so that makes me feel good about my odds on race day. And we’re running the Birmingham Bridge–my nemesis–on a regular basis so I’m becoming somewhat desensitized to it. Also did this whole run on macadamia nut butters from F-Bomb, first time I’ve used all fat on a run and I felt really good. Took a packet every 10 miles (roughly every 2ish hours) and that seemed to work well.
Sunday–10 miles easy. Easy 10 miles on the schedule, so I ran the Mill Creek Distance Classic half marathon. This is one of my FAVORITE races. It’s tough–19 hills over 13 miles. The park it is in is absolutely gorgeous though, and I really do love awful things. Wasn’t sure how it would go after 24 yesterday. Definitely felt my quads on the first downhill. But I was solid and strong out there. Really steady, and honestly didn’t walk that much, all things considered. And I can tell because even though I ran 24 miles the day before, I set a 4-minute course PR! I can’t get over how strong I’m getting this training cycle. Followed this up with a trigger point class with my training team. That was awesome and I’m rolling my feet on the lacrosse ball as I type. Definitely going to work some of that into my routine.
Big races coming up next weekend. Not goal races–training runs with medals, but I have a really good feeling about the marathon on Saturday. More soon, friends.
So an update on this little experiment. I’m continuing with it. Honestly, I feel really good. Haven’t been as strict lately, putting a little “life into living” as they say, but here are some observations as I continue this journey:
I’m not hungry all the time. I’m doing some high volume training. Previously, even with lower volumes of training I was a bottomless pit. Hungry ALL the time. I definitely have moments where I’m ravenous, but it’s not like it was. It is possible for me to be sated for relatively long periods of time.
I don’t have a lot of cravings. Not saying I never crave carbs. I do sometimes. A couple weeks ago I would’ve cut someone for some pasta. So I had some. And then I was good and I didn’t want any more. But by and large–I don’t crave much. I like the things I’m eating. It’s not a struggle to avoid sugar/carbs. If I *really* want something, I have it. Going off for a meal here and there will not kill me, so I don’t stress about it, but I also don’t have the desire to go off plan very often. We’re a month out from Easter and I’ve not had a Reese’s egg or Cadbury mini-eggs (my favorites) because I haven’t wanted them enough to get them. *shrugs*
My recovery has been amazing. Will be interesting to test out when I’m racing as opposed to running for training, but I’m not nearly as sore as I have been in the past, even though the volume of my training has increased quite a bit. I can do my long run, or speedwork and be ready to run the next day. I can lift at kettlebell, and be fine running 2 days later (when my DOMS was always the worst). There’s a little soreness, I’m still challenging myself, but not like it was.
I’m less “crazy” about food than I’ve ever been. As someone with body image issues who is also into distance running and interested in health and fitness and all that good stuff–food has always been a big topic for me. Trying to balance wanting to lose weight with being constantly hungry was a major challenge for a long time. Counting macros really worked well for me, but at a certain point the math made me absolutely nuts–1/2 a serving of this, 2/3 serving of that…just to hit my numbers got old. This is so much easier on me mentally–which I never thought would be the case. I don’t have to figure out how to “make” it fit, I just acknowledge that it doesn’t and make the decision to either have it or not. Less math, less measuring–so much happier.
My athletic performance is improving. My runs have been pretty great lately. I’m holding decent paces on my long runs and pushing pace on my shorter runs feels really good. I can go longer without fueling, and I’m transitioning from the chews to F-Bomb macadamia nut butters when I do need a boost. So far, so good. It’s not like I’m intentionally pushing myself to go longer without fuel either, I just don’t feel the crash or the gnawing hunger like sensation I used to get. I got 11 miles into a long run before I thought “I should probably take something” a few weeks ago.
I also want to note that I’m doing a much more real-foods Keto approach than what is trendy now. I’m not using a lot of sugar substitutes or keto-friendly fake foods. If I’m going to go off plan, I’d rather have the real thing and be satisfied by it. No “low carb” pasta, I just either have pasta or I don’t. No “keto-friendly” desserts or treats–I just either eat the cake or I don’t. This feels much more sustainable (and wallet friendly) to me, and I think it’s part of why I’m actually satisfied when I eat–I’m not trying to trick myself, I’m just eating food. So far, I’m sold on this. It feels sustainable to me, especially in the way I’m approaching it.
That’s all I got for now friends, have a great weekend. More soon.
Must have kicked whatever was ailing me the previous weekend, I felt great all week.
Monday–rest day. I want to start doing the Yoga for Distance Runners that I have saved on the DVR on Mondays, but today was not the day. I went to a fueling for runners seminar after work, which was interesting, but didn’t tell me much that I didn’t know (bear in mind I’ve been at all of this for awhile and am studying for my nutrition certification for this round of CEUs). The dietitian who spoke is also against keto, which is working really well for me (more about that later this week). I wouldn’t push it for everyone (especially not all athletes) but it’s working for ME, so I’m staying the course.
Tuesday–kettlebell and warmup mile. Got to run my mile outside–yay! Felt good (and different!) to push my pace some outside for the warmup. Chased it with some foam rolling and then a really great class. Moderately heavy weights, and I got to work on single bell squat form with a heavy non-racked position. Need to do more of that to get my confidence up for double bell squats.
Wednesday–easy miles. Had 4 on the schedule, but a few friends needed 5 so we did the Team RWB run and then tacked on some extra. It was a beautiful night to run around the city and I felt really good.
Thursday–easy miles. Again, 4 on the schedule, but my friend needed 5 so what’s one more? Went up to North Park in the evening wearing a tank top and capris! So excited for that weather. I miss running in some heat. Loving having company for these Thursday night runs, makes them go much better.
Friday–kettlebell and warmup miles. Hit the treadmill because of the wind, but it was still a solid warmup mile. Foam rolled a little. Awesome class. 10 round ascending ladder (adding an exercise each round). I don’t always finish these, but today I did! I got through all 10 rounds! I’m really proud of my effort and how strong I’m getting.
Saturday–10 miles easy. Instead, I ran the Shamrock Shuffle half marathon in Harmony, PA. I like awful things, I really do. Ask my friends, I have a special place in my heart for the hilliest most awful races. Ogden is one of my favorites. Mill Creek is another favorite–I’ve had friends swear off both and ask what I see in them. But this race makes even me question my judgement. I remembered part way through why it’s been 5 years since I last did it–you need awhile to forget about it before you can go back. At any rate, I ran it with a couple of friends which made it much more bearable, enjoyed my jello shots, survived the freak snowstorm (hitting just as we were about to come down the most massive hill), and ended up with a 23 minute course PR! It wasn’t easy, to be sure, but I was definitely not racing. I wasn’t forcing pace (well…maybe a little at the end). I am so freaking proud of that race–I’m so much stronger than I used to be. I can’t get over it. I’m really proud of how far I’ve come and all the work I’ve put in to get here.
Sunday–8 recovery miles. Mentally I was not interested in running today. But we all know that wouldn’t stop me from doing it. Met up with my friends and got it done. Quads were trashed from the hills on Saturday but I still felt remarkably good while I was out there. Pace was solid, which made me really happy after the previous day’s workout. Just another sign of how much stronger I’m getting.
Word for this week–STRONG. I felt really good and really strong, and I can see my progress. Great feeling coming out of a cutback week, bring on the next 2 weeks of training!
Okay. Hard post to write, but lots to process, so here goes…
I really, really struggle with seeing myself as an athlete. I was a fat kid and have struggled with my weight and body most of my life. Even since I fell in love with running it hasn’t been easy, in fact it has complicated it even more in some ways. I’ll have spells where I’m good with myself and don’t give it a second thought, but ultimately I still see myself as a fat girl. By and large I’m to a point where I can say that I don’t care and mean it–I’ll run around the city in my sports bra because I don’t really care what other people think. If they don’t like my body they don’t have to look. They certainly can’t say anything to me that I haven’t said to myself a hundred times already that day.
This is one of the beliefs that holds me back the most, and it’s not something I can ignore, try as I might. A hundred times in a hundred different ways I’m confronted with the dissonance between my self-perception and reality. I reach for sizes or order race shirts that are too big because I can’t get it through my thick skull that I’m not as big as I used to be. I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror or see a picture and am caught off guard because it doesn’t match my usual self-critique. I frequently comment to my BRF that anyone who doesn’t know me wouldn’t think by looking at me that I work out at all, let alone as much and as hard as I do. He of course rolls his eyes and tells me (gently, of course) that I’m an idiot and to get over myself.
It is this very thing that smacked a little bit of reality into me a week or so ago. We have some new hires at work, and management does a little introduction game early on so they get to know us. The ice-breaker this round was Truth and a Lie. We had to present a truth and a lie about ourselves and see if they could guess which was which, without knowing us at all. So, armed with the belief that I don’t “look” like a runner, I said I was training for a 50-miler and have 2 dogs, sure they’d call the 50-miler the lie. They did not. Three people who have never seen me before and met me only moments earlier believed out the gate that I’m training for a 50-mile race. What the what?
So I’ve been wrestling with this demon for the past couple of weeks, trying to get my head around the fact my self-perception is so messed up. I know this is one of the things that holds me back as an athlete. I write myself off all the time, if only in my head, as being ‘pretty good for a fat girl’ or ‘kinda fast for a fat girl.’ But here I am training to run these crazy stupid distances and the unbelievable thing is the distances and why anyone would do that in the first place, NOT that *I* am doing it.
I’m working harder on shifting my self-perception to athlete. If people I don’t know from Adam can believe I’m an athlete, why shouldn’t I? I can honestly say that my keto-experiment (which I also need to update you on, but that’s another post) is coming from a pure place of athletic experimentation and not just an attempt to lose weight. I am LOVING this training cycle. I guess I just need to put it out there and be real about the ongoing struggle. One step forwards, two steps back. The little dance called life.